Game of Thrones’ recent hot streak continued with last night’s episode, “The Broken Man.” The seventh episode of season six felt like a special episode from top to bottom, and got the ball rolling quickly with a rare cold open that revealed that a certain popular character is in fact still alive. Additionally, we also got some interesting developments in the south, as Margaery confirmed that she’s playing the long con with the High Sparrow and Jaime faced opposition in the Riverlands (and also, Bronn returned!). Oh and we also got to meet the most badass 10-year-old girl ever in the form of Lady Lyanna Mormont, the hardassed ruler of Bear Island who gave Jon, Sansa, and Davos quite the verbal sparring session. At its core though, “The Broken Man” is still a set-up episode and as such, it’s left us with some pretty significant questions to ponder as we head into the home stretch of the season (how are there only three episodes left?!).
10. What Happened To The Brotherhood Without Banners?
The last time we saw Beric Dondarrion’s Brotherhood Without Banners, they were a noble band of outlaws who looked out for the innocent and only hunted Lannister bannermen. Evidently, their code of ethics has undergone a few revisions since then, as a group of them butcher an entire community of defenseless civilians just for their food. So what has happened to them to make them so much more violent and desperate? Could it be that we’re finally going to see Lady Stoneheart in command of the Brotherhood, or is there another force at play here? Either way, the revelation that the Brotherhood are basically one big group of bad guys now is definitely one of the most shocking revelations in “The Broken Man” and I can’t wait to see the Hound take swift vengeance on the lot of them.
9. How Did The Hound Not Hear That Massacre?
Having Sandor Clegane be the only survivor of the massacre at Brother Ray’s (Ian McShane) parish is a great way to hammer home this episode’s thematic concern over whether or not a man can break the cycle of violence (Spoiler Alert: Nope!), but it still required a fair amount of suspension of disbelief on the audience’s part. The Hound’s insistence on gathering firewood spared him from sharing the same bloody fate as Brother Ray and his flock, but it sure didn’t seem like he was that far away from the group.
How was it that the Hound didn’t hear what was going on? There’s the possibility that the scream he heard was from before everyone was slaughtered, prompting him to rush back, but it would have taken a considerable amount of time for an attack like that to be carried out, what with the attackers going to the trouble of hanging Brother Ray and all. I’m happy the Hound wasn’t among the dead, of course, but it still felt a bit unbelievable that he wouldn’t’ have arrived there sooner.
8. Will The Hound Be The Faith’s Champion?
One of the more popular fan theories in heavy circulation right now is that the Hound will face off against his brother the Mountain (or Ser Robert Strong as he’s going by these days) in what is being dubbed the Clegane Bowl. The thinking goes that the only man who stands a chance against the Mountain is his own brother and since the Hound still has a score to settle with his brother, it would be fitting to see them finally face each other in a trial by combat. The only problem is: how is Sandor Clegane going to end up becoming the High Sparrow’s champion?
Judging by the way this episode ends, Clegane has his own score to settle with the Brotherhood Without Banners, so he’s kind of got his hands full already. And even if he survives, there’s still the matter of the Hound not only ending up back in King’s Landing, but also agreeing to represent the church in Cersei’s trial. It all seems like a bit of a logistical stretch, but if it means we finally get to see these two behemoth brothers fight each other to the death, I’m willing to cut the show some slack in terms of lining things up to make it all happen.
7. Who Will Help Arya?
While it’s highly doubtful that Game of Thrones will kill Arya off, the Waif gutting her like a fish and leaving her for dead was still came as quite a shock, even with this show’s penchant for killing off beloved characters. It would be extremely disappointing and simply bad storytelling if Arya were to die right now, so it’s pretty much a given that someone is going to help her patch up those new holes in her torso, but who? Arya doesn’t exactly have any friends in Braavos and as her walk through the streets showed, people aren’t going out of their way to help young girls staggering around while holding their insides from spilling out. My money is on Arya seeking help from the group of actors she encountered over the last few episodes, particularly Lady Crane, since she kind of owes Arya a life debt after the latter spared her from an assassination attempt. Will Arya be able to recover in time to fight off another attack from the Waif, though? I guess we’ll find out.
6. What Will Arya Do Once She Deals With The Waif?
Unless Game of Thrones throws a major curveball our way (which is certainly possible) the most likely scenario for Arya now is that she mends her wounds and takes out the Waif once and for all. If she does end up accomplishing these difficult tasks though, what’s next for Arya? She’s pretty much at the top of the Faceless Men’s Most Wanted list, so even if she manages to kill the Waif, Jaqen H’ghar is likely to send someone else after her.
Right now, it looks like we’re building towards a confrontation between Jaqen and Arya, as it will be impossible for Arya to move on from Braavos with an assassin’s guild still hunting for her. What’s the endgame here? I have no idea. This entire storyline has felt largely extraneous over the course of two seasons now, which makes it difficult to get a read on what the larger implication of removing the Faceless Men from the board would be. At this point, I just want to see Arya get on that ship back to Westeros, so the quicker she is able to deal with Jaqen and his many faces, the better.
5. What Is Melisandre Up To?
Season six started off with a heavy focus on Melisandre; we not only got to see her true form, but she also successfully brought Jon Snow back from the dead. Unfortunately, ever since then, we’ve seen little of the Red Woman, to the point where she hasn’t even been in the last few episodes. It seems odd that Game of Thrones would give her a renewed sense of faith in her abilities and her religion, only to sideline her for multiple episodes. I’d like to think that she’s busy trying to find a way to combat the White Walkers, but it’s surprising that she didn’t go along with Jon on his mission to round up support for the upcoming Battle of the Bastards. After all, he’s essentially her new Stannis and she followed him everywhere. Surely we aren’t through with Melisandre sightings yet this season, but if she’s looking to make another dramatic play, now would be the time to do it.
4. Seriously, What Happened To Dorne?
You kind of have to admire Game of Thrones for seemingly caring just as little about Dorne as the rest of us do, since neither the region or the characters who inhabit it have been seen since the very first episode of the season. This show certainly has a habit of abandoning storylines for lengthy periods of time, only to return to them later (heck, we just got resolution to the Benjen mystery last week after five seasons of waiting). Still, this Dorne blackout feels more out of place somehow, probably because the show left everything there in a state of disarray.
The Sand Snakes just took over one of the Seven Kingdoms and no one in Westeros seems to care, which is honestly quite fitting when you think about it. Still, I’d be very surprised if Dorne isn’t revisited before the end of the season, but right now, all the other storylines are so much more interesting that I’d be perfectly fine with the show quietly sleeping Dorne under the rug and never mentioning it again.
3. Which Fleet Will Dany Choose / Get To Her First?
We finally found out where Yara and Theon are headed with their fleet and it turns out that they’re also trying to woo Daenerys and her dragons over to their side. Unfotunately, they’ll have some competition in this endeavour in the form of their psychotic uncle Euron, which should make things interesting when both fleets inevitably arrive in Slaver’s Bay. Dany is in desperate need of ships to transport her army to Westeros, but which Greyjoy faction will she side with? I highly doubt she’s going to want to make her first order of business when she lands back in Westeros retaking the Iron Islands, but given that her other option is to become the wife of a crazy pirate, I’d say Yara and Theon definitely have an edge in this race. There’s also the possibility that Dany will just take one (or both) of the fleets by force, which would admittedly be in keeping with the new ruthless attitude she’s adopted as of late.
2. How Will Jon React To Sansa’s Ploy?
I won’t even bother posing the question of who Sansa wrote to because we all know it was Littlefinger (and if it wasn’t, then Sansa definitely has way more allies at her disposal than she lets on). The real question is how Jon will take Sansa going behind his back and asking for help from the Eyrie. To be honest, it seems a little peculiar that Sansa would try to hid this from Jon, as it’s not like Jon has any personal vendetta against Littlefinger that would preclude him refusing the assistance of the Knights of the Vale. Still, even if he’s pissed off, I’m sure once Jon sees a sizable army show up to help him win the Bastard Bowl, all will be forgiven.
1. Will The White Walkers Wait Until After The Bastard Bowl To Attack?
We know that this season is building to a final epic confrontation between the Bolton and Stark armies, with the victor laying claim to Winterfell. Of course, Jon, Davos, and pretty much everyone else on the Stark side know that this war pales in comparison to the one that is to come with dead and as Jon has already stated, they need to retake Winterfell if they’re to have any hope of stopping the White Walkers. The only problem is that all of this planning is predicated on the assumption that the White Walkers won’t attack until after all the Ramsay business is sorted out. But what if the Night’s King does decide to start marching south while Jon and Ramsay are in the middle of their Bastard Bowl? It would certainly be one hell of a surprise and is definitely the kind of twist that Game of Thrones is fond of throwing our way. Wait, if this does happen, does it mean we’ll get to see Ramsay turn into a White Walker? Okay, this definitely needs to happen now.